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Crusader with an Amazonian Parma.

Shields return as an item type in Diablo III. As in previous games in the series, shields provide blocking, which absorbs some set amount of damage with every successful block. Shields roll with powerful defensive properties, including huge boosts to Armor, Vitality, Life%, Life Regen, and more. They can also roll with good offensive bonuses, such as to Critical hit Chance and mainstat, but will never provide the DPS boost that the other, non-defensive off-hand items deliver.

The trade off with a shield is much less offensive might than is provided by a two-handed weapon, or more commonly (for Monks and Barbarians) by dual wielding. Other classes have special Off Hand items that add huge offensive bonuses, but unlike shields, do very little for defense: sources (Wizards), mojos (Witch Doctors), or quivers (Demon Hunters).

Legendary Shields[edit | edit source]

Legendary Shields in Diablo 3 and Reaper of Souls. All regular shields can be used by any class, though in Reaper of Souls they are used mostly by Crusaders, who also have special Crusader shields as well. See the individual articles for full stats and details on these hand-warmers.

  • Items of level 61 and higher can only be found or crafted in Reaper of Souls.

Legendary Shields:

Legendary Crusader Shields - Crusader restricted

Shield Changes in Diablo 3[edit | edit source]


Shields are much changed in function in Diablo 3. They are less effective defensive tools than they were in Diablo 2, since they block a much lower percentage of attacks, and only absorb a set amount of damage, rather than 100% of physical damage with a successful block. These changes are meant to provide a more compelling reason to upgrade your shield, and to make two-handed weapons and dual wielding more viable.

In retrospect, most fans agree with the D3 Devs that blocking was grossly overpowered in Diablo II. In that game, the ability to use any shield to completely negate up to 75% (the maximum blocking rate) of incoming physical damage was unbalanced, and made dual-wielding or using a two-handed weapon a far less viable tactic than going with a one handed weapon and a shield. Diablo III's shields are meant more as a form of damage mitigation, decreasing a percentage of the incoming damage, rather than an all or nothing source of damage spikes, as shields were in Diablo 2.

Monks and Shields[edit | edit source]

Monk with shield.

At one point during their development, Monks could not use shield. (Or many other types of weapons.) Bashiok offered an explanation of this in a pair of forum posts in early March 2010 [1]

Bruce Lee would not use a shield, and neither would the monk. We have shields. Everyone but the monk can wield them. Of course that’s subject to change.

It did. A Monk was first seen using a shield in August 2010, during the Artisan Video and the Monk remains able to use shields as of the Diablo 3 Beta.

Shield Skills and Class Skills[edit | edit source]

Two views of a low-level Barbarian with a hand axe and buckler.

During development the Barbarian had a variety of shield-based skills and passives. These were gradually removed during development and in D3v no class had special shield-related skills. This changed in Reaper of Souls when the Crusader was added to teh game with a variety of special shield talents.

The following are shield skills the Barbarian had during development, preserved for posterity:

Shield of Iron

  • Max points: 3
  • Description: Increases your chance to block attacks.

Shield Slam

  • Max points: 1
  • Description: You have a chance to hit your target with your shield and interrupt them.

Even earlier in development, before traits were introduced, the Barbarian had a Battlemaster skill called Shield Specialization that granted considerable blocking bonuses. Here are the stats for this skill, which was removed from the game in 2009.

  • Shield Specialization
    • Passive Skill
    • Max Rank: 15
    • Description: Increases the Barbarian's chance to block with a shield and the amount of damage he can block.
    • Rank 1: +8% chance to block, +6 damage blocked.
    • Fury cost: None

Media[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Class-Specific Weapons - Blizzard, 11/3/10